UF’s new African-American studies major is in full swing this semester after its approval by the Board of Governors over the summer.
Sharon Wright Austin, director of African-American studies at UF and associate professor of political science, said the program has been pushing for the major for several years, with an already successful minor and student demand driving the effort.
“When people think of African-American studies, they think of African-American students taking the classes,” she said. “The classes are very diverse, it shows students of all races and all ethnicities have an interest in African-American studies.”
Austin said seven students are currently signed up for the major, along with 15 in the minor program.
She said the courses are interdisciplinary, covering a wide range of topics and aiding students with writing and critical thinking skills.
According to the African-American studies website, students must take 30 credit hours of elective and core coursework to complete the major, and fulfill all of the requirements for the Bachelor of Arts degree in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.
Tahiri Jean-Baptiste, a 21-year-old English, anthropology and African-American studies triple major, said she felt her education would have been incomplete without the new program.
“When you’re taught history in school, the things you learn are from one specific perspective, one person’s story,” Jean-Baptiste said. “African-American studies takes it a step further and tells it from every perspective.”
A version of this story ran on page 8 on 10/1/2013 under the headline "New African-American studies major fully available this semester"